Thursday, August 8, 2013

JuiceBlender: Gubernatorial Candidates Brown, Gansler & Mizeur Step Out on Issues // Plus: Will House Boot Dwyer?

Below Maryland Juice writer Dan Furmansky presents a round-up of recent news of interest to politicos:

It looks like the pace of the gubernatorial campaign is about to pick up speed. Our declared and soon-to-be-declared Democratic gubernatorial candidates -- Anthony Brown, Heather Mizeur, and Doug Gansler -- are stepping up their games and focusing on some key issues. For those of us who prefer ideas to platitudes, it will be interesting to see what issues the candidates highlight.

JUICE #1: HEATHER MIZEUR RE-OPENS CONVERSATION ABOUT FREDERICK MAN W/ DOWNS SYNDROME KILLED BY COPS - First up, Heather Mizeur is shining the light on ensuring justice and appropriate treatment for people with developmental disabilities by law enforcement. Del. Mizeur this week called on the Governor to launch a state inquiry into the case of a Frederick County man with Down syndrome who died while being arrested by police moonlighting as security guards. The man was dragged away when he stayed to watch “Zero Dark Thirty” a second time. The autopsy ruled the death a homicide by asphyxia, and advocacy groups like the ARC of Maryland claimed that with better training, the officers would have realized there was another way to work with an individual who was at greater risk of unintentional harm. Del. Mizeur suggests O’Malley have his health department investigate local and statewide policies on treatment of individuals with disabilities and establish a task force to implement statewide standards.
Full Story: Washington Post: Mizeur calls for state action after death of Frederick County man with Down syndrome

- In the Doug Gansler camp, the Attorney General is taking on the high rate at which ex-offenders return to prison in Maryland, a crucial issue since ex-offenders return to prison more than 40 percent of the time in this state.  The Attorney General took a dig at Lt. Gov. Brown by saying there has been “no strategic, well-coordinated plan” to reduce recidivism in the current administration.

It’s important to note that the rate of recidivism has dropped almost eight points since 2007, according to the Governor’s Office of Crime & Control, who credit the drop “to the many partnerships and evidenced-based programming undertaken by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services since 2007.”

Regardless of the finger pointing, Maryland, the 19th most populated state, has ranked 8th most violent state in the country, according to the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States. Baltimore has managed to decrease its violent crime rate slightly the past few years, but still has the sixth-highest homicide rate of any U.S. city with a population above 100,000. Clearly there is far more work to be done.

The Attorney General’s suggestions include making technology such as Android tablets available to prisoners to aid their education while behind bars; designating a deputy secretary in the state’s corrections department to oversee the “re-entry” of ex-offenders into society; shielding criminal convictions from potential employers in cases where ex-offenders have stayed “clean” for five years after release; and investing more heavily in subsidized transitional housing for those recently released from prison.
Full Story: Washington Post: Gansler proposes steps to ease transitions for former prisoners

JUICE #3: ANTHONY BROWN HIGHLIGHTS FUNDING FOR THE MOCO & PRINCE GEORGE'S PURPLE LINE - Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is hoping to ride the Purple Line to electoral success in Montgomery County. Earlier this week, the Lt. Governor joined Gov. O’Malley at the Bethesda metro to announce a state commitment of $1 billion to eight county road, rail and bus priorities, with $680 million going to the Purple Line. The rest is expected to come from the federal government, local governments, and private partnerships. The new funding was made possible by the new gas tax passed in this year’s General Assembly, which notably was opposed by the Attorney General. The announcement was met with predicted opposition from those living near Capital Crescent Trail, with some arguing it’s a bad idea to have a private company build and run the light rail system.
Full Story: Gazette: Most of new $1B transportation package for Montgomery is for Purple Line

JUICE #4: DRUNK-BOATING TEA PARTIER DON DWYER MAY BE BOOTED FROM MARYLAND HOUSE OF DELEGATES? - Meanwhile, could Del. Don Dwyer get booted from the House? Earlier this week he entered a guilty plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to a drunken boating charge stemming from a collision last year that injured seven people, including a five-year-old girl who suffered a fractured skull. At the time of the accident, his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. The Washington Post reported on the possible consequences for Delegate Dwyer (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Because all of the charges filed against Dwyer were misdemeanors and none were directly related to his job as a state legislator, he has not been under threat of automatic expulsion from the General Assembly.
But House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) has said that he expects that a legislative ethics committee will examine the episode. That panel could recommend disciplinary actions ranging up to expulsion to the full House of Delegates.

This could be interesting, since Del. Dwyer is notoriously unpopular among his House colleagues.

- Dan Furmansky

No comments:

Post a Comment